sbpy is a community effort to build a Python package for small-body planetary astronomy in the form of an astropy affiliated package.

Project Outline

The goal of sbpy is to collect and implement well-tested and well-documented code for the telescopic study of asteroids and comets, including (but not limited to):

  • observation planning tools tailored to moving objects,
  • photometry models for resolved and unresolved observations,
  • wrappers and tools for astrometry and orbit fitting,
  • spectroscopy analysis tools and models for reflected solar light and emission from gas,
  • cometary gas and dust coma simulation and analysis tools,
  • asteroid thermal models for flux estimation and size/albedo estimation,
  • image enhancement tools for comet comae and PSF subtraction tools,
  • lightcurve and shape analysis tools, and
  • access tools for various databases for orbital and physical data, as well as ephemerides services.

For an overview on the expected functionality and the current development state of sbpy, please refer to the documentation page.

The sbpy project lives on GitHub.

The development of sbpy has begun in June 2018 and is expected to conclude in mid-2021. sbpy is supported by NASA PDART Grant No. 80NSSC18K0987


We recommend that you install Anaconda Python 3 before installing sbpy. The simplest way of installing and testing the latest development version of sbpy is then using pip:

pip install git+

For more information on the installation of sbpy, please refer to the documentation.


The current documentation for sbpy is available here.

Additional resources related to learning how to use sbpy can be found here.

Current Status

sbpy is currently under heavy development. Parts of the current documentation are only intended to provide an outline for the API to be used in sbpy.

Travis-CI status coverage Documentation Status

Development and Discussions

If you are interested in developing sbpy functionality - or simply want to join the discussions about it - feel free to join the sbpy slack channel: In order to join the channel, please send an email to For additional information on how to contribute to sbpy, please consult the wiki.